A senior detective involved in the investigation into the murder of Jim Donegan in west Belfast in December last year has said “only the INLA know” why he was targeted.
Making a fresh appeal for information about Mr Donegan’s “cold blooded execution” as he waited to collect his 13-year-old son from school on the Glen Road on December 4, Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy said he wouldn’t speculate about a motive for the killing.
Police believe the INLA was involved in the murder, but Detective Supt Murphy stressed that investigating officers “don’t have a closed mind” in terms of anyone else who may have been involved.
Asked why Mr Donegan was targeted, the head of the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team said: “I don’t want to speculate at this stage because only the INLA know why Jim was targeted. Jim had a profile. He was clearly in and around west Belfast on a very regular basis, so the reasons for him being targeted are still under investigation.
“Did the gunman operate alone? We don’t know. Are there other members from the INLA or other criminal or terrorist organisations involved in a broader conspiracy? At this stage I don’t know.”
Asked if there was any drugs link to Mr Donegan’s killing, Detective Supt Murphy said: “At this stage I don’t know. I am not going to speculate in terms of the cause or the motive for the murder, that is still very much subject to the investigation.”
Mr Donegan, a married father and stepfather, was shot dead with a semi-automatic handgun as he sat in his Porsche Panamera sportscar outside St Mary’s Grammar School.
Police believe the same gunman was set to murder Mr Donegan five days prior to the killing.
Newly released dashcam and CCTV footage shows him waiting for Mr Donegan outside the school on November 29.
Police say there has been a “really positive” response to appeals for witnesses to come forward, but they are still keen to hear from anyone who may be able to assist them with their investigation.
Detective Supt Murphy added: “The public response in west Belfast and more broadly has been really positive. This was a community left absolutely horrified and quite rightly so. The community in west Belfast have been very engaging with police, but we do understand that communities continue to live in fear when these things happen on their doorstep.”
Investigating officers can be contacted on 101.